OpEd: Tom Holland Actually Excels as Nathan Drake


Although Tom Holland is a popular actor ever since he began his role as Peter Parker and Spider-Man in the Marvel movies (with the most recent being Spider-Man: No Way Home from last year), the young English actor sparked controversy in the world of video games when he was cast to play an Indiana Jones type of character from the award-winning Naughty Dog Playstation games called “Uncharted”. Now that the Sony Pictures movie has been released in theaters, reactions have still been somewhat mixed, but I was actually pleasantly surprised and felt that Tom did really well as a young Nathan Drake!

Tom Holland

Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Credit: Marvel

Nathan Drake is all about being brawny but funny and intelligent yet boyish. We’ve already seen Tom Holland’s earnest boyishness as Peter Parker, so that was no surprise to me in Uncharted, but Tom Holland did impress me more with his shift into a more mature, sarcastic character.

I think that he did well with pulling off the unique blend of charm and vulnerability that treasure hunter Nathan Drake exhibits on his adventures, particularly when it came to the relationship with his brother Sam Drake.

uncharted nathan drake

Tom Holland as Nathan Drake in the new Sony Pictures ‘Uncharted’ movie, which was directed by Ruben Fleischer, and Nathan Drake in the Playstation video game ‘Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” Credit:

The fact that Tom Holland also bulked up dramatically for the role also makes him look a lot more like Nathan Drake, especially once he dons the signature Nate outfit and gun holsters. I also found that the chemistry between Nathan and Sully really stood out in the movie, which was a crucial plot point since the two characters’ dynamic is a big part of all six video games.

Tom Holland also played off of the villain Santiago Moncada (played by Mask of Zorro actor Antonio Banderas) very well in my opinion, and he did a nice job establishing a rapport with the fellow treasure hunter Chloe Frazer.

Making a movie inspired by the treasure-hunt-focused games took almost 20 years, and many people wanted actor Nathan Fillion to play Nathan Drake because he looks like the adult Nathan Drake, has the name ‘Nathan’, and has expressed such a passionate interest in the role that he even made his own fan film, shown below!

Nathan Fillion also demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the games in his film by incorporating lots of signature moves and camera tricks from Nathan Drake’s adventures, which made him an even better candidate for the role from my perspective.

But he was famously passed over for the role, and both Ryan Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg took turns being set to play Nate (in my opinion, neither actor would have been a good choice for adult Nathan, although Mark Wahlberg would probably have been a better match appearance-wise than Ryan Reynolds).


Mark Wahlberg as Victor “Sully” Sullivan and Tom Holland as Nathan Drake in ‘Uncharted’ Credit:


Ryan Reynolds Credit:

The movie was still meant to be a story about adult Nathan (which I was looking forward to despite casting choices) until Tom Holland played the games while on the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming around the same time that he asked Sony to start work on a James Bond prequel starring him.

Sully and Nate in the Naughty Dog Playstation video game ‘Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End’ Credit: / Naughty Dog

Instead of James Bond, Sony chose to shift Uncharted to a prequel about young Nathan Drake, and Tom Holland got the young action lead he’d wanted (ironically, Mark Wahlberg now plays his father figure Victor Sullivan because, as Tom puts it, “he got old”)!

Although I was just as hesitant as many Nathan Drake fans when it came to the casting for this adventure film, thinking that Tom looked nothing like Nathan and that Mark Wahlberg wouldn’t be a good choice for Sully, both actors ended up suiting their roles in my opinion.

National Treasure Series

If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones and Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, then this movie could be an unexpectedly good choice for you in theaters — and you’ll also want to keep an eye out for the upcoming National Treasure series coming to Disney+, which has just started filming and which will most likely share many of the same treasure hunt tropes that endear fans like me to Indiana Jones or Uncharted!

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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